This past Wednesday, November 8th, I broke up with Instagram.
That’s right. I officially called things off. In other words, I deleted the app.
And let me tell you that going without Instagram these past few days has been really, really hard.
This weekend was my university’s annual pageant, which I participated in last year. It’s been really hard staying off of Instagram. I want to see other people’s posts about pageant and I want to post a mushy post about pageant myself. It’s like I was addicted to this app and now I’m going through a withdrawal now that I cut myself off from it. :(
Over this weekend, I had to constantly remind myself that this app isn’t good for me, and that I broke up with it for good reasons. Speaking of which, here are the seven main reasons why I broke up with Instagram…
1. I only posted the “good.”
Really though. My semester this fall has been R-O-U-G-H. So, whenever something fun happens, I would post about it.
It was a way of me telling the world and myself, “Yeah, I know things are hard behind the scenes, but according to what I’m posting, you would never know. Look how much fun I’m having right now! Never mind the fact that I was in tears yesterday about student teaching or my ridiculously hard Spanish Capstone class. No, just look how great everything is going today!”
It was a pack of lies. A way for me to look good, even though I wasn’t good.
When those fun times did eventually pop up, I for sure wanted to post about it because I knew the likes would be a form of validation for me.It’s like I was turning to Instagram for my worth and value instead of to Jesus. Honestly, that’s just plain idolatry.
2. Instagram devalued my friendships.
To backtrack a little, on November 8th one of my best friends also decided to break up with Instagram. She and I were chatting about this, and she said to me,
“Kara, you know what I realized? Every single time we meet up in Georgetown, we post about it. It’s like we can’t even hang out without broadcasting it to the world. I think that’s so degrading to our friendship. It’s like we’re not hanging out because we’re friends, but because we want likes.”
But it’s true! I’ve noticed that too. One day, I looked at my Instagram profile and I noticed that two of my most recent photos were of my friend Michaela and I. And I thought, “Man, based upon my profile, one would think I hang out with Michaela all the time!”
When really, that is so far from the truth. Those two pictures were two of the four times I have seen Michaela this whole semester. And sadly, those other two times are also pictured on Instagram.
I want to go back to just hanging out with my friends because they’re my friends! Not so that I have a picture to post after.
Along those same lines….
3. I would often think about the post rather than the moment.
My boyfriend, Caleb, and I have been dating for 9 months. Over the course of those nine months, I’ve posted 5 pictures of the two of us. Which seems like a lot to me, but really, that’s not that much.
There are many reasons why I never post about Caleb and I.
For one, I remember feeling terrible about myself when I’d see pictures of couples when I was single. I promised myself I would never become like that whenever I started dating.
Secondly, Caleb doesn’t like to take pictures. So there aren’t really all that many pictures to post.
Third, by not posting every single time he and I hang out, it forces me to live in the moment and soak it all in and journal about our adventures. It makes things more personal and I really like that.
Why, then, didn’t I treat all of my friendships with that same respect?
I don’t want to broadcast my friendships or my happy times with the world. Honestly, I think I just want to enjoy them with that person/people and call it a day.
For example, a few weekends ago my roommate, one of her friends, and I went to the pumpkin patch. It felt freezing cold and we only stayed there about 20 minutes.
I love October and all of the pumpkin-y things that come with it. So I was thrilled to go to the pumpkin patch. However, the whole time we were there, I feel like we only took pictures.
To me, I really think I viewed the whole outing as a “Let’s go to the pumpkin patch and take cute pictures and then post about it so we can say we did.”
I was so consumed with wondering what I would caption my picture on Instagram later, that I wasn’t even enjoying being at the pumpkin patch.
And now October is over and I have to wait a whole year for it to come back. :(
4. Instagram stole my joy.
It would suck all the joy out of me.
Sure, sometimes I’d see a picture that would make me smile… but most of the time it just drained me. I would always feel terrible about myself after exiting the app.
I would always subconsciously (or even consciously sometimes) compare myself to my friends- be they in-real-life friends or my blogger friends.
“She already has her graduation cap decorated already? When am I going to find time to do that??”
“Ug. She always posts such encouraging things. I wish I was more like her. Maybe then I’d have more followers like she does.”
“She’s so pretty in that picture. I wish I was pretty too.”
These thoughts were poisonous to me.
Additionally, I would compare my relationship with Caleb to the dating relationships I saw on Instagram.
This is so silly, but it’s true.
I love my relationship with Caleb. I think it’s going great. But for some silly reason, seeing “perfect pictures” of other people’s relationships caused me to feel less about my own relationship.
Maybe this is still carrying over from the struggles I had when I was single. I don’t really know why I felt this way. I just know I don’t want to be envious of my friends’ relationships. That’s silly! I want to be happy for them and utterly content in my own relationship. My hope is that by deleting Instagram, this comparison will fade away.
6. Instagram detracted from my acquaintances.
I honestly think I would have more friends if it wasn’t for Instagram, because then I would actually have to catch up with them in person or via text or a phone call instead of passively “stalking” their lives on Instagram.
Have you ever had a conversation like this?
“Hey!! How are you??”
“Good! How are you? I haven’t seen you in forever!”
“Good! I recently did such and such or went to this really cool place!”
“Oh yeah! I saw that on Instagram! That looked so cool!”
“Well, it was good seeing you!”
Unfortunately this is the story of my life. Instead of asking a follow up question like “You went there?? SO COOL! What was the best part?” I would shut down the conversation by already “knowing” about it. Dumb.
7. It was a go-to way to pass time.
If I had a few minutes after I got back to campus from student teaching before I had to go to my night classes, I would hop on Instagram and scroll for a little bit.
When I woke up and didn’t want to get up out of bed, I would stall via Instagram.
Before I’d go to bed, I’d double check Instagram.
It became a way for me to fill my “little breaks” throughout the day. I didn’t spend large chunks of time on the app, but I did use it as a distraction during my free time. I could have done something more productive in those moments, but instead I wasted them on this app.
And now that the app is off my phone, I think I miss it the most in these little moments when I used to just hop on real quick. I haven’t figured out what I’m going to replace Instagram with.
Maybe I should move my Bible app to the spot where Instagram used to sit? Hmm…
Hopefully my life will change for the better by not having Instagram on my phone.
I’m hoping I will…
- Become less envious of my friends and will stop comparing my life to others.
- Value my friendships more and actually connect with my friends instead of passively following them.
- Turn to God for my worth instead of a silly app.
I’ll keep you updated :)
I don’t know how long I’ll stay off of Instagram.
My friend (who also deleted it) and I made a pact that we wouldn’t re-download the app without telling the other person, without good reason, and until BOTH of us were ready to re-download it together. I think this will provide extra-accountability that I didn’t have when I took my social media fast last year.
What about you?
Do you find yourself struggling with any of the seven things I listed above? Would you ever consider deleting Instagram off your phone? Let me know!
Disclaimer: I don’t think Instagram itself is bad. I think it can be used for good, and I’ve seen my friends and fellow bloggers use it as a form of ministry. That’s awesome! However, for me right now, it is not healthy. So, in short, that’s why I deleted it ;)